Ferrari junior driver Mick Schumacher clinched the 2020 FIA Formula 2 Championship title despite a very difficult race that saw Red Bull-backed Jehan Daruvala take his maiden F2 victory.
Starting from the pole, Dan Ticktum got off the line perfectly to keep his first place. Championship leader Mick Schumacher also started well and attacked Jehan Daruvala all the way until Turn 4 where he badly locked up his tyres.
The German told his Prema team over the radio that he was struggling with a flat spot after that lock up. In the meantime, his team mate Robert Shwartzman attacked Callum Ilott. The Russian overtook the Briton, but that lasted only for seconds as the Cambridge-born was able to retake P4.
Schumacher seemed to be fast despite the flat spot and closed in on Daruvala. The Prema racer was able tod art through to take second place. On Lap 8, however, the Indian closed back on Schumacher and overtook him, taking P2 back.
The Swiss-born German was forced to look back rather than attacking Daruvala as his mirrors were full of Ilott. The battle was disrupted for a few seconds as the Virtual Safety Car was deployed so some loose debris from Deletraz's car could be collected from the racing line.
Schumacher and Ilott started to battle hard following the VSC. The German locked up on several occasions, causing further damage to his already flat-spotted tyres. The German was really trying to hang on with his tyres, but Ilott made the move stick on Lap 19. Schumacher slid back to P6 with Shwartzman and Zhou also overtaking him.
Prema decided to call Schumacher into the pit for new tyres as they feared that the heavily flat-spotted Pirelli boots would not hold on until the chequered flag.
Following Schumacher’ spit stop, Ilott could have tried to catch the leaders, but he was unable to do so and also began to struggle with his tyres. The Briton was powerless to prevent the pressure coming from behind and slip down the order to P6 as Tsunoda, Zhou and Shwartzman got past him.
Yesterday’s race winner Tsunoda seemed to enjoy the closing stages of the race as his tyres were in a very good condition. The Japanese caught and passed Ticktum, moving into 2nd.
In the meantime, Daruvala managed to open up a gap in first, finishing the race with a 3.5s advantage. The Indian claimed his maiden F2 victory. Despite only finishing down in 18th position, Schumacher was crowned champion.
Schumacher clinched the title with a tally of 215 points, 14 ahead of Ilott on 201. Tsunoda finished just one point behind Ilott in third, ahead of Shwarztman and Nikita Mazepin. PREMA Racing are Teams’ Champions on 392 points, ahead of UNI-Virtuosi on 352.5 and Carlin on 272. Hitech Grand Prix were fourth and ART Grand Prix fifth.
The 22-year-old Daruvala was very happy to take his first victory since he won the F3 feature race at Le Castellet in 2019.
“It feels really good to win the last race of the season and finish on a high. It was a great battle out there with Dan (Ticktum), which got close at times, but we respected each other and raced well. The car was really good and I couldn’t have asked for a better finish,” said the Mumbai-born driver.
The action will continue for the FIA Formula 2 Championship as teams stay in Sakhir for the post-season testing that is set to kick off on Tuesday, December 8.